Room With a View

written by Nellie Lazar, CRS
Turlock, CA   
Apr 5, 2021

Working with homeowners and home sellers, I often counsel them on home updates. When it comes to bathrooms, I always like to share minor improvements that can make a big difference when a full remodel isn’t an option. Consider some of the ideas I’ve used in my own home:

  1. A deep cleaning is first and foremost. Deep cleaning should involve scrubbing the entire surface, including any existing tile grout. Follow up with re-grouting, if necessary.

  2. Touch up the cabinets if you have them. Old cabinets can look refreshed with a new coat of paint or stain. One of my oldest and most favorite tricks is to rub wood cabinets (works on furniture, too!) with Howard Restor-A-Finish. This is a great product that can be applied to clean wood with steel wool and then wiped clean with a soft cloth. The result is wood that looks new again! If you find that you’d prefer paint, then try a neutral color that will withstand trends and will appeal to homebuyers, if you’ll be selling your home in the near future. I’m especially fond of Sherwin-Williams paints and their broad range of colors that are at once classic and edgy. 

  3. Replace the hardware. Updated modern knobs and pulls can give your outdated cabinets an instant pick-me-up. Lowe’s and Home Depot have great options that look like they were purchased at other high-end retailers. Consider matte metals in linear or hard line shapes.

  4. Upgrade is lighting. You might replace your outdated vanity lights with a new fixture.  Again, there are so many options out there that are completely affordable and have the look of high-end design. A simple google search will churn up countless choices.

  5. Don’t forget the faucets. Plumbing fixtures are so unattractive when they get faded and gummy. Even a simple new chrome faucet set will be an improvement over one that’s old and unappealing.

  6. Change your walls. Paint is the easiest option here, but consider adding wallpaper. Yes, WALLPAPER!! What was old is now new again. Though, it may sound counter intuitive to keeping it neutral and timeless, I personally have always loved wallpaper. The right one can take your bathroom from blasé to fabulous immediately! I find it especially charming in a small bathroom.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, a few years ago we purchased an 80-year-old home with four bathrooms all in their original 1940’s glory. While two needed immediate attention and involved complete remodeling, the remaining two were still quite charming, and we found ways to give them a makeover without doing any major overhauls. Featured here is an upstairs hall bathroom that was preserved very well by the original owners. The pink tile was in excellent condition, as was the bathtub and pedestal sink. Even the plumbing fixtures had that vintage shabby chic look that is still very cool. After this bathroom got a super deep cleaning, we had the floor tiles re-grouted. We kept the tub and sink, and replaced the toilet. We removed the old built-in medicine cabinet and had the walls patched and smoothed, and then added a gray metallic chinoiserie wallpaper that complements the pink tile. A custom-made roman shade in a coordinating gray light velvet fabric adorns the window, and a vintage inspired silver scalloped mirrored was hung above the pedestal sink. In the middle of the bathroom, we installed a modern flush-mount chainmail chandelier in a traditional shape. The finished look is whimsical and fresh, and honors the home’s vintage character. Overall, the updates were inexpensive, accessible, and totally swoon-worthy!

If you have any questions about any of the products used here, message me directly at